How Does This Real Estate Tycoon Have Fun?

Landco Pacific Corporation's Alby Xerez Burgos on his love for wine and home-cooked meals.

Landco Pacific Corporation's Alby Xerez Burgos on his love for wine and home-cooked meals.

What's the biggest risk you’ve taken?
The company took a lot of big risks when it was at the helm of my dad. During that time, I was tasked to head the conceptualization and marketing of a project which would have otherwise been a large, raw tract of land in the middle of nowhere, which had all the inherent weaknesses and disadvantages vis-à-vis the competition in a tumultuous investment environment, not to mention no equity. That project is now called Leisure Farms in Lemery, Batangas. A subsequent project called Ponderosa Leisure Farms was launched in Silang, Cavite. Both of these leisure farms projects took the market by storm and revolutionized the weekend farming lifestyle.

We hear that your love story with your wife Maricar is tied to wine.
I used to be a beer drinker until I started dating Maricar, who grew up with wine on the table every Sunday lunch. Her grandfather insisted that each grandchild take a little wine during the meal to acquire an appreciation for it, and she carried the habit whenever she dined out. So the moment I experienced it myself I immediately fell in love—with wine that is.


What’re your favorite wine pairings?
The short answer to that is, it depends. Every region has its own unique “terroir” so you have to take it into context. I appreciate wines and enjoy them for what they are across all regions and price ranges. One of my favorite wines from Argentina only costs P375. For pairing, I usually do what’s easy—do what the Romans do. I feel that there is an inherent marriage between the flavors of a wine that match with the cooking ingredients that are indigenous to the same region. A wine from Rioja will pair well with Spanish tapas flavored with garlic, olive oil, saffron or paprika, and so on. You get the picture.

How often do you cook at home?
I used to cook every weekend when I was very stressed a few years back just to take my mind off work. For some reason it was therapeutic. Nowadays, once a month seems too often.

A dish you recently cooked at home?
Slow-roasted U.S. Angus ribeye with a Louis Martini red wine sauce.

Comfort food?
My in-laws make the best adobo. It is a classic and something that surprisingly, Maricar has a hard time duplicating. They really serve the best comfort food.

Favorite watering hole?
I don’t have a regular or favorite place because I only drink on weekends unless otherwise provoked! So I bring about five bottles of wine to my in-laws’ place every Sunday where we all enjoy a flight.

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What gets you excited the most?
Opening a special bottle of wine in a very reputable restaurant while about to eat their signature dish.

Best part of the day?
Being greeted by Maricar and my kids when I get home from work.

Alby and his family

What’s on your bucket list?
Trips to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the French Laundry, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Margaux, Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Ornellaia, an African safari, Stellenbosch, Douro, Burgundy, 2007 Screaming Eagle Cabernet, 2007 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. I could go on all day.

This story was originally published in the February 2013 issue of Town&Country.

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Jacs T. Sampayan
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